Issue 11 | December 2005

  • Message from Membership Director
  • Message from the President – “Mia’s Monthly Message”
  • Member Profile of Amy Retzinger ‘95
  • Industry Successes…
  • So You Got The Job, Hey…
  • And the Award Goes to….
  • Members in the News
  • Six Degrees of Harvardwood
  • Featured Member Posting – Job Opening at Sony/BMG – NYC

Message from the Membership Director

I still can’t believe that I am producing the last Harvardwood Highlights Newsletter of 2005! This year has zoomed by so quickly, and it has indeed been a year of notables in the Harvardwood History Book. We produced our first annual Harvardwood Seminar Series, our First Annual Holiday Party and are just starting the planning phase of our second big Harvard in Hollywood event for the spring. Our membership too is growing every day, so again a big thanks to everyone who has supported a Harvardwood event this year. As we continue this holiday season, please take a moment to give thanks for whatever cool stuff you made happen this year and also to acknowledge the thousands of people and families all over the world who lost a great deal as well. Happy Holidays!


Mia’s Monthly Message….

In the spirit of the holidays, eight hardworking Harvardwood members volunteered at a clothing drive sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women in LA two weeks ago (see photos). If you have other community service opportunities you’d like to share with Harvardwood, please let us know… As our inaugural Harvardwood Writers Program wraps up, a final thank you to everyone involved – participants, guest speakers, and especially Programs Director Rogelio Flores and our amazing facilitators: Mark Goffman (TV Drama), Kitt Hirasaki (TV Comedy), and Billy Hulkower (Film). You all contributed to the success of this pilot program and have set a high standard for the next edition!

Best wishes to everyone for a wonderful holiday season and a happy 2006!


Member Profile: AMY RETZINGER ‘95

Written by Dominique Kalil, ‘00

Something that always strikes me when I write these profiles is the absolute randomness (and I mean lottery winning type odds) with which the people I interview have ended up in the careers and places they have. Very few have deliberately contrived or perfectly cultured careers from the get go. In the end, however, these seemingly accidental careers always manage to match perfectly with the person's personality and professionalism for the task. Maybe this phenomenon is really just the universe keeping the world in order. If a person finally gravitates to that at which they are naturally gifted, then it's only natural they will excel with the same effortless perfection.

Amy Retzinger '95 started off premed at Harvard, but half way through decided to make a change and pursue a 'greater unknown' and (VES) Visual and Environmental Science. She hasn't looked back since. Following graduation she stayed in Cambridge, living in a house with four other Harvard grads while working at a low key production company. Amy admits to enjoying the work, but I get the sense she felt a little restricted. So she found her mettle, packed her suitcase, emptied her bank account and headed out to Los Angeles. There she crashed on the couch of one of her former Cambridge roommates – Abram Hatch ’96 – who also helped her to get interviews for assistant jobs around town. She ended up working at The Gersh Agency, in the TV literary department. Through a series of chance events (there's that theme again), just as Amy was about to start another assistant-ship elsewhere, an agent suddenly left Gersh, living an open position. Amy grabbed the opportunity and hasn't missed a step since.

Nurturing connections and catering to clients takes patience and tolerance – even in the short time I spoke with Amy, I sensed there was an abundance of each. However, what struck me as particularly exceptional was Amy's memory, which I'm guessing has been another key element to her success. Like most people, when I like a particular television episode, I might remember the episode name, and at best the name of the guest star. Not Amy, however. When I spoke to her and we began discussing all the random things that might pertain to this interview, she mentioned how back in college her favorite ER episode was called "Love's Labor's Lost" and that she recently had run into the author, Dr. Lance Gentile, recognized him and struck up a conversation. Her ability to remember details such as these struck me as really impressive.

Before wrapping up our chat, we discussed how difficult it is to not take things personally in this industry, especially in the agency world. Interpersonal skills are crucial. Clients become friends. And long workdays combined with after-hours script reading, set visits, tapings, drinks, and dinners make the job all-consuming. I can only imagine, then, how tough it is when clients decide to change agencies, which in a fluid market happens all the time. It takes a thick skin, no doubt. Of course this has rarely been Amy's experience, I'm sure largely due to her solid work ethic and her ability to "work her butt off" for her clients. For all aspiring future agents out there, Amy had some advice: "hustle!"


Christopher Hanley ‘07 just got the license to produce and direct Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville at the Agassiz Theater in Cambridge this coming spring. While the show dates aren't set yet the Production is well underway. He is doing this as an ad-hoc theater group with a bunch of other dedicated friends, so they are selling ads in the program to help with production costs. E-mail him at [email protected] if you're interested in helping out or have any experience/recommendations for raising funds! Also check our facebook group..., for updates. And if you'll be in town, we hope to have you at the show!

Co-Producer and actor Brian Wescott’s new movie CHRISTMAS IN THE CLOUDS-- the first Native American romantic comedy-- is now playing (or about to) in 16 states across the country! Check out playdates, reviews, clips and more at our newly revamped website

Spire Capital and ZelnickMedia (run by Strauss Zelnick HBS ’82), have acquired SkyMall from Gemstar-TV Guide. SkyMall is the publisher of a widely read in-flight catalogue and also has travel-focused e-commerce sites and marketing programs.

ABC has greenlit a comedy pilot from Jon Beckerman ’91 and Rob Burnett, creators of NBC’s ED. The project stars Donal Logue ‘88, who will also produce.

LAW & ORDER: SVU executive producer Neal Baer (GSE ‘79, GSA ‘82, HMS ’96) sold two one-hour pilots to NBC: BRAVE NEW WORLD, set in the world of science, and THE WHOLE TRUTH, about an investigative TV journalist.


Harvardwood advisory board member Amy Brenneman ‘86 has joined the cast of Jon Avnet’s 88 MINUTES, playing the assistant to a college professor (Al Pacino).


Jason Holzman’s '93 short film THE METHOD takes top prize for Best US Short at the 2005 AVIGNON/NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL. This was also "The Method's" world premiere. At the ceremony, festival director Jerry Rudes presented the award to "The Method" director Jason Holzman and co-writer and star Gregg Brown.


Roger Ebert, on his TV show last Sunday, celebrated Brian Wescott’s new film CHRISTMAS IN THE CLOUDS as "charming" and "finally, a movie about Indians that isn't about social problems." And Oprah Magazine calls it "a funny, spirited December charmer that will put you in a festive mood." Brian also got a very nice write-up back home in the Anchorage Daily News: The per-screen average there last weekend came in second only to Dallas, a city 8 times the size!

Six Degrees of Harvardwood – Jacqui Wang

From Jacqui:

I was working on post-production on my first film as a director when I joined Harvardwood (and the the website's Professional Connections) to meet fellow Harvard alumni. I was surprised and ecstatic at how many wonderfully kind and generous alumni, as well as other industry professionals whom I met at the events and the Harvard Film nights, agreed to meet with me for informational interviews or simply for coffee. The advice, offers of assistance and insight I gained were invaluable. Particularly since I was a Harvard Law School alum with more experience drafting contracts than editing sound effects, I often felt working on post-production of my film was akin to wandering about aimlessly alone in the dark, hoping my instinct of what direction to head in was right. The advice from the alumni community and the mere knowledge that there are so many supportive fellow alumni in the industry were very meaningful to me and contributed to my endurance and determination in finishing the film and eventually taking it to festivals. Finally, it was through my announcement in the Harvardwood e-mail newsletter of my film's premiere at LA Shorts, the Hamptons Film Festival (and later the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival and other venues) that I was invited to speak at the Harvard Law School Entertainment Week, an honor and memory I cherish. I never could have imagined that my first attempt to make any sort of short film on either film or video could have led to such enriching experiences, and I am truly grateful to the Harvardwood community for its indispensable role.


DO YOU HAVE A TESTIMONAL TO SHARE! Please send me a short note or email with your testimonial about how Harvardwood has helped you? Email [email protected] and for each testimonial receive, a free month of membership (limit 3 per person).

Featured Member Posting – Job Opening at Sony/BMG - NYC

Position available at Sony / BMG. SONY BMG Music Entertainment is a global recorded music joint venture with a roster of current artists that includes a broad array of both local artists and international superstars, as well as a vast catalog that comprises some of the most important recordings in history. Sony BMG Music Entertainment is 50% owned by Bertelsmann A.G. and 50% owned by Sony Corporation of America. Job duties: Report spending to Product Managers and Department Heads (weekly)… Paid members can view full posting info at:

Photos from the NCJW Clothing Drive., Dec. 4th, 2005


Harvardwood does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any of the information, content or advertisements (collectively

"Materials") contained on, distributed through, or linked, downloaded or accessed from any of the services contained in this e-mail. You hereby acknowledge that any reliance upon any Materials shall be at your sole risk. The materials are provided by Harvardwood on an "AS IS" basis, and Harvardwood expressly disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied.

Calendar Programs Jobs & Career Development